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New research project shows slight increase in reef health

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. – Healthy Reefs for Healthy People has begun an underwater research project as part of its campgian to monitor local Playa del Carmen reefs.

The non-government organization consists of a group of specialized staff from the Ecological Center Akumal who will collect data for a report to be released in early 2017.

Marisol Rueda Flores, Mexico representative for Healthy Reefs, says that, “We have 17 reef points we have been monitoring since 2006. Here in Playa del Carmen only we have four points, but will specifically cover from Cancun to the Xcalak area.”

She noted that from 2012 to 2015 the region has registered a slight increase in reef health, but stressed that the level of increase was minimal. Flores said that in previous years, the reefs expereienced a loss of coral cover and increased coverage of macroalgae, but now there is a slight increase in health so they will document the trend.

Flores also added that for the most part, the coral reef system in the state of Quintana Roo can be described as “bad”. Approximately 17 percent of the state’s reefs are considered in critical condition while the balance is considered bad.

“There are many threats facing the reef including bad treatment of water and wastewater. While it is true that we meet the Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) 001, there is also human waste that impacts the health of the water and reefs particularly during vacation periods,” she added.

The  Mesoamerican reef is the second largest in the world and spans four countries across Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras.

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